Oral History Collection

MAIN ENTRY: Holland, J. Harvey and Euna
DATE OF INTERVIEW: March 9 and December 29, 1975; April 28-30, 1976
LOCATION OF INTERVIEW: Lubbock and Fort Worth, Texas
INTERVIEWER: Clifford Ashby, Bob Nash (KFYO Radio), Rick Boucher
LENGTH OF INTERVIEW: 7 hours, 12 minutes (total)
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE: J. Harvey (Harve) and Euna Holland review their lives as tent show performers and owners, along with their recollections of various repertoire performers. They also perform skits with Clifford Ashby’s drama classes.
TAPE ONE, SIDE ONE: Euna Holland’s first sightings of Harve Holland
Fourth of July picnic
Anecdote: Seeing Holland boys on the way home
from town

Euna Holland’s family moved to Midelothian
Charlie Holland
Anecdote: Boy paying "dirty" complements
Meeting Harve Holland
Anecdote: Walking home after the fire
First date
Sundays at the tank or cemetery
Anecdote: Stopping to watch the 5:15 train come in
Marriage proposal
Calling home to break the news
Moving Mrs. Holland from home
Orchestra pit, Majestic Theater
Singer of illustrated songs
Theater closed
Job playing with Corsicana Band
Traveling with land company
Returning home to Midelothian, Texas
Homecoming celebration
Practicing gymnastics
Sold house to buy a tent show
Harve Holland’s feelings in the morning after the wedding
How the Hollands got into show business
Anecdote: Harve Holland goes to the circus
Erecting a trapeze
Working the way to Hamilton, Texas and back
First acrobatic comedy act
Buying house in Midelothian
Preparing to go on tour

TAPE ONE, SIDE TWO Trip to Hamilton (again)
Bookings along the way
Anecdote: playing in Hillsboro, Texas
Town band plays for picnic in Midelothian
Advertised for bass player
Anecdote: injured bass player
Buying a tent
First show in Venus, Texas
Putting Euna Holland’s niece in show
Ballyhoo stand
Playing Alvarado, Texas
"Jig show"
Hillsboro, Texas
"Grind show"
Shorty Harbor, comedian
Cyclone blows tent down in Irene, Texas
Patching tent and improving the show
Hiring from Billboard
Tent burned
Returned to Midelothian
Hiring on with dramatic show in Venus, Texas
Interviewing with Dutch Sheffield
Meeting townspeople
Harvey’s first part
Euna’s first part
Learning to play piano for show
Anecdote: knee showing out from under robe
Harvey helping with the tent
Directors worked with
Ned Barrington
Mrs. Holland goes home to get her daughter
Minstrel show
TAPE TWO, SIDE ONE: Minstrel show (continued)
One night stands
Return to Texas
World War I
Problems keeping actors
Anecdote: cars being condemned
Sold cars to government for troop transport
Return to Midelothian
"Shepherd of the Hills"
Anecdote: playing Gainesville, Texas in the show
Otto Johnson, playwright
Harve Holland’s fear of the draft
Sold cars to carnival company
Return to Midelothian
Joined Renfro Jolly Pathfinders Company
Roles performed
War (again)
Draft depleted cast and show closed
Gabber Davis show
Influenza epidemic (1918)
Shows closed
Working in San Antonio, Texas
Silent films
Anecdote: driving wagon for "Three Wise Fools"
Vaudeville theater
Working through chorus girl strike
Daughter brought to San Antonio
Euna Holland returns home to await arrival of baby
Son born (March 1919)
Euna and children join Harve with Rec company
Joined Brunk’s Comedians
Partnership with Dot and Billy Lee
Towns played
Christmas in Dekalb, Texas
Running a clean show
Traveling with children
Public relations
"Rough talk" never used
Split with Dot and Billy Lee
Wintering near public schools
Playing Houston, Texas (1925)
Meeting Clark Gable
Problems keeping a lot
Bought new tent (Spring 1925)
Fall business in Rio Grande Valley
TAPE TWO, SIDE TWO: Summer of 1928
Showing Taylor, Texas
Daughter opened dance studio
Third child born
Harvey Jr.’s experiences in Taylor
Family moves to Dallas
Living conditions
Cast made moving picture commercials
Gene Kenyon, leading man and drummer
Mark Williams, leading man and saxophonist
Orchestra broadcasted over local radio stations
Shows weekly newspaper
Show goes back on the road (Spring 1930)
Glen Rose, Texas
Gene Kenyon and Maxine Holland married
Two tent theaters playing one town
Terrell, Texas
Meeting and hiring Gene Kenyon
Marriage of Maxine and Gene (again)
Kenyon’s parents visit from Carthage, Missouri
Closed show when Harvey Jr. started school
Leased out tent for Boy Scout circus
Hollands helped with circus
Hollands go into Houston to check on house
Return to Midlothian
Telegram offering a job in stock
Traveled to Carthage, Missouri to work
Rented cottage with Gene and Maxine
Fire in Joplin theater
Fire in Carthage theater
Hollands purchase small grocery store
Settled in Carthage so Harvey Jr. could go to school
Harvey and Gene Kenyon traveled with circle stock
Organized a show to perform in towns near Carthage
Performing with Gary Clark show
Working in and around Osage City, Kansas
Harvey studies art at Washburn College
Second grandchild born
Gene Kenyon took a show on the road
Harvey becomes partner in Holland-Kenyon Players
Show closed for winter
Job with Central Scenic Studio (Waco, Texas)
Opened Scenic Company in Waco
Moved to live with Aunt Zelda
Anecdote: bathing in soft water
Aunt Zelda’s yard
School (again)
Harvey Jr.’s roles
TAPE THREE, SIDE ONE: Euna Holland’s father
Harvey Jr. as a street singer
Harvey joins the Elk’s Lodge
Working with the Nutt show (1919)
Ladies join Elks Ladies Auxiliary
Pensacola, Florida
Roles played by Harvey Sr. and Euna Holland
Harvey Jr.
Performing on weekends
Sammy Monroe
Anecdote: breaking up fight amongst children
Harvey Sr. did light comedy as a young man
"Call of the Woods"
Harvey Clark comedy show
Anecdote: spraying water after seeing parents
Osage City, Kansas
Anecdote: lowering trunk out of window
Gene and Harvey setting up stage

Anecdote: incident in cobbler’s shop
Money earned in Depression
Maxine’s roles
Various songs (performed by Euna Holland and Maxine)

TAPE THREE, SIDE TWO: Euna Holland’s father, Robert Morgan
Anecdote: offering money to purchase stockings
Euna Holland’s siblings
Cara Jettie
Cara Cine
Edna Mary
Zelica Zola Grace
Euna Vaye
Judge Erickson
Robert Tillman
Georgia Bennett
Mrs. Holland’s shoe size
TAPE FOUR, SIDE ONE: Harvey Holland
Born: Hamilton County, Texas (December 19, 1888)
To Midlothian, Texas (c. 1893)
Brothers and sisters
Interest in circuses
Taught himself acrobatics
Worked at Texas Christian University (1907-1908)
As first Physical Director
Show business skills and abilities
Organized dramatic club with wife
At Midlothian
Began playing clarinet in town band (age 6)
Began doing vaudeville
Started in tent show business
Bought a medicine show
Leslie E. "Skeeter" Caal
Dr. Hightower’s New Discovery
Stories involving bass player
Tent burned in South Texas
Fred Chant’s Dramatic Show
Plays performed
Acting techniques
Fred Chant show
Harve and Euna Holland with the show a long time
Holland’s Big White Minstrel Show (1914-15)
Railroad cars owned by the Hollands
Lived in Gainesville, Texas
Incident in Houston
With Renfroe’s Jolly Pathfinders
During World War I
Harley Sadler
With Glenn Brunk show
With Bostwick-Davis show
Leon Bostwick
With Ed C. Nutt Stock Company
Responsibilities on the show
To San Antonio, Texas
Worked with silent pictures
With a tabloid show
Silent picture performers
Vaudeville acts
With Ed C. Nutt Show
Places shown
Put out show with Billy Lee (1924)
Toby shows
Fred "Toby" Wilson
Holland’s show
Baseball team
Length of season
Mexican-American and black audiences
Lines from "Lure of the City"
Different Toby characters
Repertoire shows as training grounds
Decline of tent show business
Advent of unions
Holland returned to school (1945)
Became teacher and principal
Various towns
With Joe McKennon show
Size of show
Use of neon lights
Holland painted scenery and drops
Madcap Players in Dallas
For Texas schools
School of fine arts established after retired from teaching (1949)
Harley Sadler with Joe McKennon show
Al Pitcaithley, contortionist
Incident, School of Fine Arts emcee
Love for performing
Holland’s hernia injury
Betty, daughter, in Dallas
Son in Irving, Texas
Acting experience
Teacher on the show
Holland’s education
First recollection of Harve
In high school together
Musical abilities
Went into show business with husband
Met professional showman (1910)
Bought a tent
Vaudeville show
Acrobatic act
Holland’s show
Admission prices
Free tickets
Candy sale
Clean shows
No profanity
Interaction with townspeople
Emphasis on wardrobe
Railroad cars owned by Hollands
Character parts
Length of shows
Changed scripts around
Types of shows performed
Cooperation with movie theaters
Incident at Holland, Texas
Mrs. Holland’s activities on the show
Played in the band
Worked at the door
Worked circle-stock in Missouri
Lived in Osage City, Kansas
Grocery store business (1933)
Holland’s show (again)
Street band
Young people on the show
Harve and Euna Holland’s children
Salaries, jobs on shows
Candy sale
Incident about balloons
School teacher on the show
Children on the show
Harve Holland’s family
As performers
Mark Williams, nephew
Success in show business
Seating capacity of tents
Different seating
Free show tickets
Harve Holland’s drunken act
Directors on the show
Harve Holland in San Antonio, Texas
Worked with a tabloid show
Worked with silent pictures
Worked with Buster Keaton’s grandmother
Tabloid show in San Antonio
Caroline Schaffner
Neil Schaffner
Wrote plays
Robert Le They Johnson and wife, performers
Worked for Holland
Jimmy Davis, performer
Harve Holland (again)
Toby character
With Joe McKennon show
Worked at a nightclub
Hollands as Bible salesmen
TAPE FIVE, SIDE ONE: Anecdote, Holland poisoned
Lines from "Saint Elmo"
Roles performed by Harve Holland
[Clifford Ashby describes and discusses Harve and Euna Holland]
TAPE SIX, SIDE ONE: Jennings Tent Show
Grace Jennings and Pete Lavelle
Paul Lavelle, son
Buddy Lavelle, son
Neil Fletcher, performer
Invented the corn dog
Pete Lavelle
Trumpet player for Roy E. Fox Show
Cleaning business in Fort Worth
Toby Gunn, organist
Roles he played
Married Miss Hearn
Madcap Players
Mr. Hearn
Joy Holland Coleman, niece
Hollands worked in Dallas (1929)
Rialto Theater
Harve Holland’s Comedians
Plays performed
Business declined
Grocery store business
Played circle-stock
In Kansas
Mack Johnson, performer
Jobs on the Harley Sadler show (1948)
Marie, wife
Put on amateur shows
Ethan Allen, performer
Worked on different shows
Allen brothers Tent and Awning Company
Dallas, Texas
Worked for Clyde and Barney Moving Pictures
Worked for a circus
Jobs on tent shows
Harley Sadler
Started as a stage hand
Jimmy Hogg
Success as a promoter
Stage experience
Monty Stuckey, performer
Juvenile man on tent show
County judge near Houston, Texas
Elsie Stuckey, wife
Gene Stutzberry
Charles Evans
With Madcap Players
Taught music
Played organ
Monroe Hopkins
Worked for Fred and Hila Morgan
Vaudeville act
Virge and Alice Lester
Worked for Monroe Hopkins
Holland show in Terrell, Texas
Anecdote about the band
Competition from the Hila Morgan Show
Hila Morgan’s hotel burned
Generosity of Holland show performers
Gene Kenyon, son-in-law
Fort Worth as a show town
Betty O’Conner, performer
Dave Sullivan, husband
Trixie Masqueue, performer
Parts on tent shows
Buddy Harris
Owned a tent show
Elizabeth Camp
Worked as a teacher for the Hollands
Houston and Dallas as show towns
Holland show
On the road
In Dallas
Show business visitors
In Houston
Clark Gable, stock performer
TAPE SEVEN, SIDE ONE: Holland’s scrapbook
Harve Holland’s start in show business
Circus performer
Learned gymnastics
Annual circus at Baylor University
Texas Christian University
Early days
Short verse about the drawbacks
Reasons to stop
First job in show business
Married high school sweetheart
Early show business activities
Vaudeville show
Purchased a tent
Holland Show in Venus, Texas
Leslie Caal
Blackface act with Euna Holland
Show traveled by train
Discussion of various photos
Candy sale
Tent used
With Fred Chant’s Show
Gave show to Hollands
With Fred Brunk
Harley Sadler with Glenn Brunk
Holland Show
In Dawson, Texas
Everett Stover, technician
Candy sale
Pitch used
More expensive prizes
Holland show
Anecdote about Dawson, Texas
Admission price
Balloon privilege (sale)
TAPE SEVEN, SIDE TWO: Balloon privilege (continued)
Preparation and sale of balloons
Show musicians
Street band
Mind readers act on the show
Harve and Euna Holland
Tricks used
Balloon sale
Started around 1925
Harley Sadler show in Houston (1922)
Competing stock company
Clark Gable, actor
Experiences of Harve and Euna Holland
Early airplane
Early automobile
Book written by Euna Holland
Early life
Show business start of Harve and Euna Holland
Mr. Holland’s career
Small roles
Preparation, description
Hollands began in show business (1911)
Various shows worked on
Repertoire shows
Tabloid shows
Silent pictures
Ticket prices
Concession sale
Effects of the Depression (1930s)

To Kansas
Worked circle-stock
Theft of show equipment
Robbed while in Atchison, Kansas
Money, jewelry stolen

TAPE EIGHT, SIDE ONE: Anecdotes and stories
TAPE NINE, SIDE ONE: [Interview with Bob Nash on KFYO Radio]
Started in show business (age 21)
Performance skills
Show business activities with wife, Euna
Organized dramatic club in Midlothian, Texas
Vaudeville acts
Bought a tent show
Dr. Hightower’s New Discovery
With Fred Chant’s Dramatic Company
Present-day theaters and clubs
Return of vaudeville
Harve Holland
Early experience with a circus
Activities in school
Played in a band
Taught himself acrobatics
At a cotton mill
Mother’s reaction
With Fred Chant’s show
Gave Holland 50% interest
"The Shepherd of the Hills"
Euna Holland, wife
Texas Tech tent show revival
Renewed interest in vaudeville, live theater
Fred Chant gave show to Holland
Effects of World War II on tent shows
TAPE TEN, SIDE ONE: This tape is a recording of Harve and Euna Holland performing a skit
TAPE ELEVEN, SIDE ONE: The Hollands perform a skit with Clifford Ashby’s drama class
Tent shows
RANGE DATES: 1888-1976
BULK DATES: 1910-1950s